How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

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NorthSouth
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How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:17 am

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At one o’clock today I arrived at Erik Barrett’s Rumble Seat Garage in Auburn, CA. towing my father’s and my 1924 Touring with a broken crankshaft. Under the watchful eye of his 85 year old father and two dogs we, in just over an hour, had the engine out and Erik and his cohort Robert were tearing it down to just the bare block. By 4 o’clock Erik was torching out the babbitts while Robert prepared refurbished connecting rods and piston assemblies. At 5 o’clock we were pouring 900 degree molten metal in to the new babbitt jig. At 6 o’clock Erik was milling them to aerospace smoothness. And, at 8 o’clock we were drinking beer and eating pizza on the apron outside his roll-up door.

This was an amazing day. The Rumble Seat Garage has every tool, machine, and jig imaginable and some that I had never imagined. Erik has dozens of magna fluxed crankshafts hanging in factory style bags from the rafters and a warehouse of segregated piles and shelves full of Model T parts enough to build a parade of cars. It's a well oiled machine. I was honored to be witness to how this family of professionals so passionately approaches their craft.

Tomorrow morning we will be back, elbow deep, into it again milling the ends of one of the babbitts so that the new crankshaft will be positioned properly front to back, (thrust). Then we'll load all the engine parts etc into his fancy parts washer, paint those that should be painted, and begin putting the car back together. We have been at it 7 hours now and the end is already in sight. I will post more about that tomorrow so please stand by.
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:19 am

More first day photos.
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by RustyFords » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:39 am

Tons of respect for skilled folks. Thanks for posting the photos.
1924 Touring

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:21 am

More day 1 photos
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by wayne sheldon » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:36 pm

I love to see people that can doing excellent work! Barretts and company are some of the best.

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Thorlick » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:13 pm

Ah ha, that is why Erik said I will have to wait to do my rod repair! Now I know why you offered me that model A inlet... a peace offering piece! Well, Erik,his father Roger, and Bob are worth waiting for!

Erik has some undersized rods waiting. I will drive in and they will be custom bored fitted and balanced while I wait. I suspect the wait will be shorter if I don’t help!

Roger has done my last two sets of coil set-ups. They run as well or better than the coilman’s... better because Barrett’s is a half hour drive away and they will be put right if the tuning changes... even long after a year later!

Thanks guys... I am looking forward to our next visit. So is Terrie, she wants Rusty out of HER garage and back on the road!

Terry
Terry Horlick, Penn Valley, (Northern) CA
1927 Mountain Patrol Vehicle from the Los Angeles City Fire Department (L.A.F.D.)
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:59 am

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Day 2 of this crankshaft replacement went as well as the first. Erik set the thrust on his lathe and squared the butt of the crankshaft. He, Robert, and I put the engine back together with Erik constantly checking and adjusting tolerances to the micron. The engine is now back in the car with the transmission bands, wishbone, starter, generator, manifold and exhaust, timer, oil circulator, and headlights all squared away. We will start again tomorrow at 9:AM with the goal of having the car "tour ready" by noon, 47 hours after we started. Stay tuned. I will let you all know how that goes.
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:01 am

Another Day 2 photograph.
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by John Warren » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:15 am

Thanks for taking us along. I am just getting to know Eric and Bob. Missed Eric at the Lincoln Trials, hope his mother is doing ok. Were you able to put your finger on the reason for the broken crank, bent pan, bad forth main...? Sure looks like you went to the right place for help. jw
24-28 TA race car, 26 Canadian touring, 25 Roadster pickup, 14 Roadster, and 11AB Maxwell runabout
Keep it simple and keep a good junk pile if you want to invent something :P

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:32 pm

_
In answer to your question, you can see where the crankshaft broke in the first day's pgotographs up near the start of this thread. There's was no bent pan. Although, Erik has a massive solid steel block of a jig to straighten any pan back to factory specifications. Also, no damage whatsoever to the block. Erik tells me, "if you're going to break a crankshaft this is the best way to have it happen".

So, this is a roundabout way for me to tell you that we don't know why this Ford T crankshaft broke. The Amazing story here, however, is how it got replaced. I haven't had this rewarding of an experience in a "Rumble Seat" since my high school prom.

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:39 pm

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Arrived in Auburn, CA. with a two-piece crankshaft at 1:PM, Friday, July 5th.

Fired the car up at 12:45 PM today, Sunday, July 7th and drove it to the Auburn Valley County Club for brunch and full body massages with the mechanics. Praise be to Erik, dad, Robert, and the Rumble Seat Garage.
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Dan B » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:19 pm

Wow! What a neat place and experience. It’s nice to know there are still folks out there taking time to do things the right way.
1923 Touring


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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Erik Barrett » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:09 am

Well, it was quite a weekend. I had an ideal combination of parts, equipment, and people helping to make the project a success. Steven and my model T partner and best pal Robert Weitzel were troopers on this job.
This is a car I got from the estate of a local club member. I did not build the engine other than looking it over and putting in a Stipe cam and a few other goodies. It came time to find a new steward for it and I found the Chase family at Bakersfield. A few months later Steven joined the infamous two piece crankshaft club. Many here will recall the thread about that. So at this point there was only one appropriate course of action, and that was to return the car to tour ready condition as I promised it to be. In so doing now I have not a customer but a new friend, having spent the weekend fixing the car and making plans to enjoy model T’s together. We are taking it to two car shows and a club tour next weekend. This is good stuff.

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by RajoRacer » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:23 am

Hi Erik - I see that the broken crankshaft was a '26 - '27 - was it an AA or EE ???


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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Erik Barrett » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:36 am

AA

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by RajoRacer » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:02 pm

Interesting - thanks !


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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by cranejon » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:47 am

Very Impressive. How many man hours involved in the total job? I am always in awe of the time study minutes to do a job in the Ford Mechanics handbook.
Jon


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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Erik Barrett » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:43 am

Those Ford time studies are a crock. Flat rate times are still that way today, and even worse if it’s a warranty job. They assume nothing will go wrong like a broken bolt, incorrect parts provided, and a host of other things.
This job would have taken me 30-40 hours to do by myself. I had good helpers that cut that time almost in half.

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:01 pm

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An additional benefit that has yet to be mentioned in this thread is the huge amount of Model T mechanics knowledge that this 48 hour experience dumped into Steven. I jumped from being afraid of this calculus level wrenching to wanting to do it again, and soon**.

When a novice like me is guided through this entire process, (from preparing the engine to be pulled, to disassembling it in the way where you can find all the sorted pieces down the line, through the molden metal pouring and precise machining, to the collections of specialty tools needed within reach, to rebuilding the perfect engine, all the way to getting EVERYTHING back in to the car and properly connected), the guy is taken from being a Mr Magoo just out driving his Model T to a seasoned neophyte who actually knows from first hand experience what is happening inside that engine.

This complicated exercise made for a monumental improvement in my driving style, my mechanic's skills, and my ability to understand more of what is discussed at our post-tour tailgate parties, ...not to mention that because of this I may now encourage others in the hobby to lean in and embrace this type challenge if they are ever so fortunate to get the chance.

Erik and Robert gave me this chance and encouraged me to participate in every detail from start to finish. Because of their nurturing generosity I am a far better Model T-er today then I was 48 hours ago.
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**but not on my car.
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by wayne sheldon » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:34 pm

Erick Barrett and crew are really good that way. I don't know his dad really well myself, although I have spoken with him a number of times and met some others in his family. I suspect all his family are pretty good people. And Robert W is energetic and enthusiastic as anybody I know today! All good people.

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:45 pm

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July 10, 2019

I am taking this 1924 Touring, with its newly rebuilt 1927 drivetrain, on three separate trials in Auburn, CA. this weekend.

(1) Cruise Night, Friday night, 4:PM at the Gold Rush Museum, Old Town Auburn.

(2) Auburn Valley golf Club Car Show, Saturday, 4:PM - 9:PM at their club house.

(3) The Mother Load Model T Club's "Beat the Heat Tour", Sunday, starting at Railey's, 7:AM.

There is also a Model T driving class being offered on, Saturday, July 13th, 9:AM - 2:PM at the California Automobile Museum.

Auburn is full of activity this weekend. I hope that some of you reading this thread might join us for some of these events and stop by and say hello.

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by NorthSouth » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:08 pm

Post rebuild torquing of the head bolts. 50 lbs. Third time after driving car in between. We'll do it again this afternoon and a fifth time tomorrow after the Auburn Beat the Heat tour.
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:47 pm

Take it easy there...they should be set already...it's 20HP and 100 y/o cast iron.
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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Matt in California » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:10 pm

Steven,
Thanks for posting! Erik is great!

Please tell me about your coils when your crankshaft broke. I have a theory that mismatched dwell time could contribute to two-piece crankshaft memberships.

Matthew


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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Erik Barrett » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:49 pm

This was a car I bought from the estate of a local club member. I put in a Stipe cam, Reeder flathead, and a couple other goodies. The bearings looked good, I was told they were redone when the car was restored. My guess is the crank was not magnafluxed and was put in cracked. I had it on the National tour last year and a few others. Well the crank finally let go as all of them will at some point. I suspect the performance parts added to its distress. I would much prefer it had happened under my ownership, but that was not to be. Next best possible scenario, the new owner is a super guy who understands this stuff happens to ninety year old machines. Steven gave me the opportunity to make things right with nothing but a good attitude and allowed me to keep my promise of a reliable touring car. Sad to say there are others who would have gone right to the internet and torched my reputation. I’m glad it worked out so well and I have another model T friend to add to my list. We are touring with it tomorrow. I am taking my TT dump truck.

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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Thorlick » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:14 am

I stopped by to consult with Erik today and met Stephen. He’s a great guy, even jumped in to help with my engine.

The bad news is my engine will cost more to refresh than to replace. I have a new gear on my Stipe 250 cam, one I drilled for 7.5 degrees advance yesterday (a job which is rediculously easy). That and my valves and lifters will be used again.

The good news is Erik still has my original (numbers matching) block. I hope he can get that to work, if not I saw at least four ‘26-‘27 blocks in inventory. See that photo of cranks above? One of them will go into whatever engine I end up with... my crank will get a regrind and eventually go to the rafters.

One of the great things at this shop is Erik has everything a T needs right there. The best thing is that Erik knows more about T’s than anyone I have ever met.

This shop will do what you want. For Stephen it was everything start to finish. For me I walked in with a block on my engine stand and a box of parts. You pick how much you want to do!

Well, I am done until I hear Erik’s report on the pressure test of my old block.

TH
Terry Horlick, Penn Valley, (Northern) CA
1927 Mountain Patrol Vehicle from the Los Angeles City Fire Department (L.A.F.D.)
1912 Omnibus project


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Re: How we replace a broken crankshaft at Rumble Seat Garage

Post by Erik Barrett » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:44 am

All things are possible. I am going to try to reunite Terry’s model T with its original engine block that matches the frame number. It’s a sad case that is going to need a lot of work, but will be worth the effort if it can be done.

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